Groundbreaking Oral History Project StoryCorps Visits Chattanooga
Mar. 5, 2019
WUTC FM 88.1 hosts StoryCorps for four weeks to help record the stories of local residents.
StoryCorps, a renowned nonprofit organization celebrating the stories of everyday Americans, will record interviews in Chattanooga from March 19 to April 17 as part of its cross-country MobileBooth tour. With more than 65,000 interviews from Americans in all 50 states, StoryCorps has gathered one of the largest single collection of human voices ever recorded.
StoryCorps’ MobileBooth—an Airstream trailer outfitted with a recording studio—will be parked at Miller Park. Reservations will be available at 10 a.m. on March 5 at wutc.org, or call StoryCorps’ 24-hour toll-free reservation line at 1.800.850.4406. Additional appointments will become available on March 20.
In StoryCorps’ MobileBooth, two people record a meaningful conversation with one another about who they are, what they’ve learned in life and how they want to be remembered. A trained StoryCorps facilitator guides them through the interview process. At the end of each 40-minute recording session, participants receive a complimentary CD copy of their interview. With participant permission, a second copy is archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress for future generations to hear.
Founded in 2003 by award-winning documentary producer and MacArthur Fellow Dave Isay, StoryCorps has traveled to every corner of the country to record interviews in the organization’s effort to create a world where we listen closely to each other and recognize the beauty, grace and poetry in the lives and stories we find all around us.
“StoryCorps tells the true American story—that we are a people defined by small acts of courage, kindness and heroism. Each interview reminds people that their lives matter and will not be forgotten,” Isay says. “By strengthening connections between people and building an archive that reflects the rich diversity of American voices, we hope to build StoryCorps into an enduring institution that will touch the lives of every American family.”
In Chattanooga, StoryCorps partners with WUTC FM 88.1, Chattanooga’s NPR station, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and the City of Chattanooga. WUTC will air a selection of local interviews recorded in the StoryCorps MobileBooth and create special programs around the project. StoryCorps may also share excerpts of these stories with the world through the project’s popular weekly NPR broadcasts, animated shorts, digital platforms and best-selling books.
"Our city is changing, and history and growth are working hard to find a balance. We have a lot to tell StoryCorps; so many of our stories are untold. StoryCorps' visit to the Tennessee Valley will have a powerful impact on our community," says Will Davis, outreach manager and producer at WUTC.
Founded in 2003 by Dave Isay, the nonprofit organization StoryCorps has given more than 350,000 people the chance to record interviews about their lives, pass wisdom from one generation to the next and leave a legacy for the future. It is the largest single collection of human voices ever gathered.
Recording a StoryCorps interview couldn’t be easier: You invite a loved one, or anyone else you choose, to one of the StoryCorps recording sites. There a trained facilitator greets you and explains the interview process. In a quiet recording room, you're seated across from your interview partner, each of you in front of a microphone. The facilitator hits “record,” and you share a 40-minute conversation. At the end of the session, you walk away with a copy of the interview, and a digital file goes to the Library of Congress, where it will be preserved for generations to come. Someday your great-great-great-grandchildren will be able to meet your grandfather, your mother, your best friend or whomever it is you chose to honor with a StoryCorps interview.
With the 2015 TED Prize awarded to Dave Isay, StoryCorps has also launched an app that puts the StoryCorps experience entirely in the hands of users and enables anyone, anywhere to record meaningful conversations with another person. The app guides users through the interview experience, from recording to archiving to sharing their stories with the world. It provides easy-to-use tools to help people prepare interview questions, record high-quality conversations on their mobile devices and upload the audio to the Library of Congress and StoryCorps.me website, which serves as a home for these recordings and also provides interview and editing resources.
StoryCorps shares edited excerpts of the stories through its weekly podcast, NPR broadcasts, animated shorts, digital platforms and best-selling books. StoryCorps has launched a series of national recording initiatives including:
- The Justice Project, an effort to preserve and amplify the voices of people affected by incarceration, their families and communities;
- The September 11th Initiative, helping families memorialize the stories of lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001, in partnership with the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center;
- The Griot Initiative, now the largest collection of African-American voices ever gathered, in collaboration with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture;
- Historias, the largest collection of Latino stories ever gathered;
- StoryCorps OutLoud, which documents the powerful, varied experiences of LGBTQ people across America, with a focus on lives lived before Stonewall; and
- The Military Voices Initiative, honoring the stories of post-9/11 service members, veterans and their families.
StoryCorps is working to grow into an enduring national institution that celebrates the dignity, power, and grace that can be heard in the stories we find all around us, and helps us recognize that every life and every story matter equally. In the coming years, StoryCorps hopes to touch the lives of every American family